Laughing At Cancer


SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK


I can make fun of anything. It’s my job. For instance, last July, as we stood on a scenic overlook over the Mississippi River in Missouri (you can’t look at the Missouri River in Mississippi), I got a phone call to tell me my father had cancer.

Um …

Okay, I can’t make fun of everything.

My Dad had a long, six month fight that wasn’t much fun for anyone, especially since he’d been diagnosed with a type of cancer that has a poor prognosis. (As opposed to a poor proboscis, which wins this column’s unusual word prize by a nose.)

But Dad is one of those people who is always working, so he went to work, kicked cancer in the face, and messed up its proboscis so much that it now looks like proboscis and gravy. His latest checkup is due in a few days (Me? Nervous?), but as of now he’s been declared cancer free.

I won’t go into too much detail, but suffice it to say Dad’s particular cancer, and how advanced it was, makes his cure a miracle … a miracle assisted by modern medicine, just as my father was assisted by the American Cancer Society.

(Suffice, by the way, is the word proboscis beat by a nose. But enough parenthesizing.)
Now, I know what you’re thinking. (Scary, ain’t it? Oops—I parenthesized.) “Mark, you’re not going to use your father’s illness to shill for the Noble County Relay For Life, are you?”
Yes. Yes, I am. But isn’t it better than when I misuse my column to sell books? I mean, use my column to sell books?

(Editor’s note: We’ve only had one complaint about Mark self-promoting in his column. Still, we smack him when we have to. With one of his books.)

(Writer’s note: I’ve got a new book coming out this spring. Ow!)

I try to portray myself as rather self-centered and profiteering, because that way people don’t ask me to, say, help them move, or donate my time. Just the same, some years ago I was brought on board as promotions chair for Noble County’s Relay organization, because they told me I could wear a captain’s hat and put my name on a chair at the meetings. Captain’s hats are cool. We all need to give a little back to our community, and by giving I don’t mean littering in the park.

Finding out I may have prostate cancer made it a bit more personal to me, but after a couple of years of sitting on pins and needles (It’s the prostate. Think about it), Doctor Finger declared that it was probably more or less a false alarm, for now.

(Darn, parenthesis. Oops—darn!)

I have to say, I wasn’t all that thrilled with the caveats on Doctor Finger’s diagnosis. By the way, I had peas and caveats for dinner last night.

Then my step-father had a cancer scare. Then my father actually got cancer. And my father received support from the American Cancer Society, direct, concrete support that involved money, not concrete. Money that people donate through events like the thousands of Relays For Life (Relay For Lives?) that take place around the world.

So, how can I not help our local Relay? Especially after they gave me the cool captain’s hat? Sometimes, when I’m sitting in the living room in my captain’s chair, I pretend the TV is a view screen and order Sulu to go to warp speed. Unfortunately, the only available Sulu is my dog, and he hasn’t mastered the helm controls.

My point, and I had to get to it because all those parentheses have me running out of space, is that cancer is bad. The American Cancer Society is our largest voluntary health organization, unless you count Girl Scouts, who contribute to our emotional health with those cookies. They’re not perfect (The ACS, I mean, Girl Scouts are)—for instance, they didn’t get me a Captain Kirk shirt, which is okay because he didn’t actually wear a captain’s hat. I’d have looked pretty silly ordering the dog to go to warp speed “while … talking … likeCaptain … Kirk” in both a Starfleet uniform and a captain’s hat, wouldn’t I?

I wonder why my wife is laughing at me?

(Editor’s Note: It just occurred to us that Captain Kirk kind of talks in parenthesis. That explains a lot.)



For more information about the Noble County Relay For Life and how you can get involved, contact Mike White at (260) 302-2052 or mjw_2013@hotmail.com

            The Noble County Relay website is:

            And the Facebook page is:


And you can buy my books at www.markrhunter.com (Ow!)     

8 comments:

  1. As the expression goes, laugh so you don't cry.

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  2. That's okay. You still meet the problems head on. I wish your Relay for Life much success! Ours was held this weekend.

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  3. Hope your Relay's a HUGE success, Mark. You've had more than your share of crap to deal with.

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    1. Well, it seems like I've had my share ... maybe I should let someone else have some?

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  4. My hubby and I have been laughing at cancer. He made it through his tests once again.

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